India’s Saregama sings new tune

Music unit expands into film production

Saregama, one of India’s leading music and video distributors, will spend 1.5 billion rupees ($35 million) over the next year to expand movie production, per vice chairman Sanjiv Goenka.

Some $23 million will go to movie production, with the balance spent on acquisitions and other related businesses. Goenka said Saregama is negotiating for a minority stake in an event management company. The outfit will be expected to promote the group’s movie slate.

Company says it is putting together a slate of seven movies, with biggest budget set at $8 million. Bollywood helmer Apoorva Lakhia (“Shootout at Lokhandwala”) is committed to direct two and Rituparno Ghosh (“Choker bali”) is also on board.

The slate will require coin beyond the company’s existing resources. Financing will likely involve the issue of preference shares to the Goenka family and other shareholders designated as company promoters.

Saregama, which has a repertoire of over 300,000 songs, has made seven movies in Hindi and Bengali. This week it launched Bengali pic “Khela.” In the pipeline is Gotham-set relationship movie “Karma Confessions & Holi,” in which British supermodel Naomi Campbell has a significant role. English-language pic is helmed by Manish Gupta.

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